Friday, November 6, 2009

Maa Tujhe Salaam

"Vande Mataram" has such beautiful words that even those who do not
understand Sanskrit and Bengali are hypnotized by their rhythm and serenity.
Vande Mataram, I think is a beautiful song and must be critically examined
for its beauty and literary value.

In a BBC survey in 2003, out of about 7000 songs from almost 155 countries,
"Vande Mataram" was ranked second in the selected top ten songs. It is a
part of a novel and not a religious song at all. The reference to Goddesses
Durga and Lakshmi are a way of expression of the deep respect the poet has
for his Motherland, and should not be a contentious matter for the Muslims
because Muslims consider God as one and Hindus also, as I understand
believe that all the different deities are the various forms of One Supreme
Creator. Hence the difference is not in principle, but in practice.

Also I do not agree with the argument that since Vande Mataram is a part of
a somewhat anti-Muslim novel, the song is Un-Islamic. This is perhaps the
most ridiculous reason ever to be given. A couple of years back, as we all
know this matter had come up and at that time I had asked Dr.Asghar Ali
Engineer, the well-known Islamic scholar from Mumbai about it. He had said:
"It all depends on how we look at it. It is more a political than a
religious issue. For Wahabis even reciting Fatiha at someone's grave is
un-Islamic. But for Barailvi Muslims it is quite in keeping with Islam.
'Vande' has two meanings: one is showing respect and other is worship. In
the later sense Muslims will never agree to sing it but in former sense no
one would refuse to show respect for one's Motherland. However, the whole
issue has become political and BJP is using it for minority-bashing as
usual. Some Muslim leaders also take confrontationist attitutde benefitting
the BJP and its likes. Let us not forget that the best tune for Vande Matram
has been composed by Rahman, the music director."

Hence I think it is very clear that this issue is actually a non-issue. It
has been discussed earlier also and if one may care to remember the then
H.R.D. Minister Mr. Arjun Singh had declared that, to mark the 125th year of
its creation, celebrations would include singing "Vande Mataram" in all
institutions. Muslim reaction was much as expected, like it is this time
round, giving an opportunity to anti-national forces to enliven their
communal agenda once again.

One must not forget that at that time Arjun Singh had withdrawn his
circular, and emerged as a secular figure in the eyes of the Muslims. This
time round it is being said that the "Fatwa" has been issued in the presence
of the Home Minister, Mr.P.Chidambaram, who has of course, denied it on

I agree that there should be no forcing anyone to sing it. Love cannot be
forced. It has to happen naturally and out of one's reverence for a
particular object or being. Same is true for God and one's Motherland.
During our Freedom struggle Vande Mataram was a form of greeting used by the
freedom fighters and it used to boost their spirits and morale. Hence I do
not want the religious leaders and political parties directing me on how I
follow my Constitutional freedom as a citizen of this wonderful country that
has been so beautifully described in words by the poet in Vande Mataram.

Zohra Javed

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